|Vassal of||Independent Kingdom|
|Location||In the South-West of Southern Alusia (25-37°S 0-10°E)|
|Population||about 20 million |
||Lutice (Capital); Rodelle; Never; Alsine|
||–Raniterran: 100% (others languages v. rare)|
||None visible; small amounts of Armede smuggled out by Halflings.|
A large, long established country near the Southern Horn, with a swash-buckling duelling-mad gentry, usually pacted. Highly populated in the river valleys & farmland plain, Raniterre is made fertile by strong wet Southwesterlies & magic, including Drow artefacts.
Except in the highlands, magic is normally only taught through “The Church”, a confederation of many demon-cults. Pop.: 20M, almost all human; some hobbits; sporadic Drow politely supposed by all to be Erulein; rare Dwarves (usually found in NEVER). Most locals live in small rural villages; but the Capital, LUTICE, is almost impossibly populous (2M).
All the other cities are very much smaller -- but still large, by Baronies' standards (@10,000+). The country has a rapid heliograph/semaphore system. The national language is Raniterran (a Drow-derived human tongue); very few speak anything else.
Other than the new Western border (with Brettonnia), the edges of the country are sharply delineated with hostile terrority: Waste & desert in the Northwest; drow-infested swamp in the North; Mountains of Madness in the East; orc-infested Savage jungle in the South.
MONEY & the Avenal Purchase
Raniterre once had a Maritime Province, Avenal, which bought its freedom (& part of the neighbouring duchy) in 803.WK. Demon-worshipers & disaffected Avenals were permitted to leave, even granted cash compensation — See Bretonnia(or Brettonia & various spellings) also called Bretlond.
Ranniterre was once so poor that foreign gold coins would be mistaken for coppers. It has rich farmland & forests; but bad wine; really bad wine. Other than the equally poor Grenadoes, it has no known international trade. After the infamous Destinian-Kalimar Treaty of San Juan (798.WK) the country expected renewed war with Plaz’Toro, the large Destinian-sponsored country on the other side of the Mountains of Madness. Thus the Avenal Purchase was eagerly accepted, even though the gold bars were presumed to come from the mines of the despised Destinians. Surprisingly much of this wealth has even reached the powerless Raniterran serfs & penniless commoners … indeed some guild-members thought the Brettonnia gold was a deliberate attempt by Destinian Powers-of-Light cultists to fuel peasant discontent into a full revolt against the demon-pacted gentry & nobility.
Although Guild parties have killed & extensively looted the Raniterran (the king’s alien mistress), the Cardinal (vampire head of the church, secret service), & the Dread Duke of Never; it is presumed that many millions of treasure was still confiscated locally. Even so, the country suddenly became much richer in the past few years than it should be … although perhaps not on the scale of Brettonia’s sudden wealth.
Nobility, Gentry, & Customs
Other than the four Ducal families, the holdings of noble families are quite small and the number of Comtes, Vicomtes, Barons, Knights,etc, excessively high, in part because ALL the legitimate children of a noble are a noble and on his death, a noble’s lands are split amongst his sons (or son heirs). Unlike here in the baronies, Marquis is a title of minor rank, temporarily used by a noble adult when he hasn’t yet come into his full inheritance. No surprise then that most nobles die through accident or in duels over what guild-members would probably interpret as minor or imaginary slights — although it is poor form to duel beyond “first blood” with an heirless noble except, of course, for unforgivable, mortal insults. Of course, a gentleman does not demeans himself by duelling a commoner.
Only nobility & gentry may be armed; although priests, men-at-arms, & soldiers on duty are considered gentry (if not already of sufficient birth). It is a mortal offence for a commoner or serf to possess weapons, armour, or a horse except by specific licence (e.g., weaponsmiths & approved traders).
As you may gather, excluding in Armede & Alsine, women generally have no rights & little place in society except as the possession of their husbands, fathers, or brothers. The main exception being the immemorial tradition of the King, in his wisdom, recognising rare women of high talent & creating them Nobles in their own right.
Except in Lutice, where etiquette is exceedingly complex, a gentleman or noble would expect to be able to go wherever & do whatever he liked, provided he nominally respected the rights & precedence of local nobility. Indeed, most duels are fought between visitors or travellers arguing between themselves over relative precedence or rights than between two locals or a local & a stranger.
Raniterre comprises a central capital “county” (almost the size of Carzala & twice its population) and four Duchies. Although a monarchy, the king & his royal appointments only function in the Duchies with the express forbearance of the local Dukes.
Highland moors leading to savage forests. Armedes are considered uncivilized barbarians & suspected of having either fey or orc blood: brave but brutish; strong in back & odour; either fiercely faithful or cunningly treacherous; possessed of an animal charm when not drunk. Exports: plaid cloth, Armide (a sweet grain liquor), furs, pelts, monster skins. Pop.: 200,000. The current Duke is married to a “Fey”, actually a member of the royal family of the Drow from the Northern marshes (see Elf Noir adventure, etc). Very few Armedes are members of “the Church” — either because they detest lowland superstition, or because they follow even older religions. Armede organises itself on blood relationships & rewards individual merit in combat or magic. Oustide the Duchy, few Raniterrans will dispute the right of a bearded, kilt-wearing armed Armede to call himself Lord Greytarn & assume noble privileges.
High steppe-land, beside the Mountains of Madness; scene of many, historic bloody massacres by & of Plaz'Torans. Pop.: 2M but with a standing army upto 250,000 strong. Other than the cities, or on the plateau of Planston (the main training area of the Army), the typical locals are dour & dutiful inhabitants of fortified small-holdings who delight greatly in their misery. Occasionally raided by wild pixies, however in recent years pixies have been settling in town and several unit are even attached to the Army. The army also offers training to Raniterran nobles (especially from Rodelle) & their men-at-arms. The current Duke Xeno is believed to be a Drow; certainly his grandmother, Dowager Duchess Yersenia (probably an E&E), is called the Witch of the West & is rumoured to Live in the Mountains of Madness (proving she is non-human), has been wearing elaborate mourning for decades & inciting National action against Plaz’Toro & its allies (Destinians, the Kalimar, etc).
Because most able-bodied men are in the army, the majority of Alsine merchants, traders, clerks, … even scholars & mages, are women. Similarly peasants & townsfolk have the rights of minor gentry (but only in Alsine, of course); and have the right to bear arms.
Over Winter 808, Alsine sent ~10,000 troops off plane to the Middle Kingdom, where they trained at a time differential of 89:1 (most are now Rk 10 warriors), and traded with the locals. They have 2 or 3 Aeir Ships, which they use for their interplanar travel through the void. In the Middle Kingdom both Yersinia and Xeno appear to be Dragons - they have picked up extra colleges, and Yersina has E&E up to Rank 40 & Rune to 30, while Xeno has picked up Bard and Earth at up to Rank 30, having dropped Illusion.
Neverland is narrow stretch of extensively farmed land lying uneasily between the Arid Desert & the Mountains of Madness. There are many military forts on the desert's edge and the locals are often in combat with various tribes of desert-dwellers. Neverlanders are traditionally impulsive, vicious and unforgiving; they make deadly foes and dangerous allies. Pop.: 6M; quite a few dwarves (especially in the Dread Duke's service); some hobbits, mostly near the marshes. The new Dread Duke is not nearly as Dreadful as his predecessor, whom a Guild party killed in the battle of Bagotville (see Elf Noir adventure, etc).
There is a canal & locks at Coigny that connects the Never (flows North to the marshes) with The River (flowing West to Brettonia). The Guards of Coigny collect a tithe of all produce going though the canal, or its monetary equivalent, even from Nobles who never pay taxes. They also reserve the right to confiscate, for the Duke’s personal Library, without recompense ANY books, magic scrolls, or written material. Experienced merchants usually offer two copies of any accounts they carry & are usually permitted to retain one copy. This practise is not resented by legitimate traders but irritates the well-born. Not many nobles visit Neverland on a whim; they say you can identify a Duke’s librarian by the thickness of his armour.
Most populous duchy of RANITERRE (Pop. 9-10M). Typical Rodellains are rustic, blunt, insensitive, placid-to-jolly, & pious (within moderation). The Current Duke, Raphus XIV, is loved by all who meet him. Although they have a reputation for stupidity, Rodellain villagers & townsfolk seem to get by.
Capital of RANITERRE, a city several leagues across, bisected by The River. Large Artisans District; the Royal "Quarter" is an immense Palace, said to exceed 1000 rooms, set in an expansive system of gardens and bordered by several hundred town houses of varying quality belonging to the country's premier nobles. The King’s late mistress was unbelievably wealthy and the palace and gardens. She installed over 20,000 glass mirrors in the palace, commissioned spectacular fountains, and transformed several annoying courtiers in to assorted trees or shrubs.
Pop.: 2M in the city; about 100,000 in villages elsewhere in the surrounding “royal county”. Nearby Places of interest include the open parkland of the Royal Hunt and the "public" Woods of Baloney (not open to commoners).
The alleged last poem of Purille the Satirist (died 788.WK) summarised the country. Here is a translated, expurgated version:
Geography for Princes
An Armede is a hairy highlander: sodden skirt-wearing barbarian, sheep-shaver, destined to die in a drunken Brawl, stumbling over a misty fell, eaten by orcs, but possibly not his mother.
An Alsiniac is a humourless goat-suckled witch-led soldier doomed to be slain by revenge-obsessed dukes fighting over mountains no-one can dwell in.
A Neverrene is devious & paranoid, which is to say pious, well-versed in military strategy against desert death, but accidentally slaughtered in a vinegar-fuelled duel. But pity the sisterless Neverenne who has nothing to buy a horse with; fortunately the saintly Bishop of Coigny exchanges donkeys for fresh nephews.
A Rodellain is a fat farmer, seducing cows to improve the family bloodline or a stupid free-born merchant selling his broad-bosomed daughters at market. Silly man! Why not just rent them out, the way your betters do.
The Brett is too proud to call himself an Avenal. Short of height & temper, a beery duellist kissing foreign sailors for cheap tobacco, which he takes in the mouth, his nose being too high in the air to be reached.
Ah Lutice, jewel in the chamber-pot, where provincial nobodies blossom into wannabe courtiers, (like men, but somehow not); where baronesses are created overnight, although Countesses take a little longer; where Death is cheap & living so expensive. “Why M. le Marquis du Ridicule, what a fashionable cloak! How many friends did you have to flay for it? How cleverly the lining uses the last threads of your self-respect”.
- Ofiicially, none other than food to Grenadoes.
In Rodelle & Never, there are large congregations of demon-worshippers. Most nobles & gentry are pacted to one of the "72 saints", as they are traditionally called. Demonic temples in all cities. Nobles & gentry almost completely pacted in Lutice, but they don't let it get in the way of Royal politice or pragmaticism. Not all demons are worshipped. Low levels of Churchmembers in Alsine; even less in Armede ... mostly because they have older or bloodier religions of their own.
mostly pacted mages. Wiccans near the mountains of madness.
Crime and Punishment
Nobles (& sometimes Gentles) are expected to execute summary justice on the low-born. Disputes between nobles are normally settled by duel or by the judgement of a priest of a mutually-acceptible demon. Wealthier nobles (preferably with attractive daughters) may appeal to the King: but litigation at court normally costs more that the case could ever win.
Being a serf, peasant, or commoner in possession of a weapon, horse, or surly attitude.
Being a serf, peasant, or commoner in possession of magic.
Improper behaviour for a Gentleman or Noble.
Magical Assoult outside the agreed terms of the Duel.
- New Country Founded
Royalist Destinians and Free Bret Peoples Unite
- The Royalist Destinians and free Bret peoples have founded a new country called Bretannia, which primarily consists of what was the coastal Duchy of Avenal in Raniterre. It hosts the royalist Destinian navy and is already becoming a major trading and naval power.
- The Raniterran church of the seventy-two “saints” has been forbidden, and people are gladly turning to the Powers of Light for salvation. Those who prefer to live under the demonic rule of the King and Cardinal of Raniterre have been assisted in migrating inland. New settlers, primarily artisans from the Isle of St Charles, together with displaced royalist aristocrats and merchants from Destiny, have been encouraged to migrate with generous relocation bonuses. Initially, until normal civil structures have been set up, the Michaeline church is acting as army and police. This has prevented incursions from the neighbours and insurrections attempts from the minority of demon-worshippers who have preferred not to move. The southern jungles are being cleared at a tremendous rate by volunteer labour, and Bretannia will soon be competing with Raniterre as the wheat-basket of the south.
- The new-born nation was initially under the Regency of the Queen Mother Margarita, bearer of the unborn King Carlos II, but she is currently missing, along with much of the top floor of her palace. The civil administration is looking after affairs in her absence, in the form of a council of bishops.
- For southern travellers, there have been a number of changes to the area. The Isle of St Charles is no longer a must-see, with most of its people and goods having left. Raniterre is only accessible through Bretannia, as a bridge has been built at Guido City (previously Gaviston). The two major coastal ports of Bretannia are off-limits to travelers, as Fort Avenal is becoming a military outpost against the desert tribes, and the royal seat of Pearly Gates is primarily a naval base. Permission to travel must be gained from Guido City, two hundred miles upriver. Demon worshippers will have trouble getting travel passes unless vouched for by upright members of the Church, who they should stay with at all times.
- The attitude of the government of this new land towards the Guild is unlikely to be very positive given the involvement of Guild Members in the overthrow of the Royalist government in Destiny. It is suggested that members avoid the area on general principle.
- SGT Issue 40 - Autuma 803
- War in the South?
- The Duchy of Avenal is arming troops, supposedly to protect their new emerald mines and spice trade in the orc infested Southern jungles. There are rumours that they intend to win independence from Raniterre.
- Since Avenal is outnumbered 20:1, a recent meeting of military strategists, in the snug bar of “The grey cat,” thought that war is most unlikely. A new portal (perhaps off-plane, perhaps to Malakandra), allegedly for the spice trade, may be the real reason behind the tulwar-rattling.
- SGT Issue 39 - Summer 803
- If you ever come across something you want to get at inside a transparent box that’s trapped to take it away if interfered with, try the Illusionist Maze spell. The item goes away, then adventurers interfere with the box. It goes away, and the item comes back. Thus perished the Raniterre.
- Issue 24 - Autumn 799
- A Guild Party destroys a group of Drow pirates operating out of St Charles (San Carlos), under the orders of the King's Mistress of Raniterre.
- An Anonymous Report
- Hot goss on the Raniterran Ambassatrix : not much (yet!).
- Raniterre is a moneyless human kingdom in the Far South, famous for its salad dressings (or, to use the local term, wine).
- It is a triangle surrounded by dessert, mountains and savage jungle. The only, sea coast is the corner province of Avenal inhabited by a common-speaking, beer-drinking people, the Bretts (some quarter of a million or so). The rest of the country speaks Ranitenan, generally in a garlic-laden accent.
- Now this Countess was a wealthy childless widow (from the Baronies, they say) claiming to be heiress to said Duchy of Avenal, which must have upset the poor King because the last Duke, the semi-late Cardinal-Prince von Richhausen, left all his lands to the King. Fortunately "Rani" law doesn't let anything as feeble as a woman to rule, but a legitimate son could inherit (if he lived, if you get my drift). Anyway she's allowed to call herself Countess of the city closest to the Royal Capital (1 day's ride). So very convenient for the Horse brigades.
- Rumour has it that one well-endowed widow is spending all her readies to snare her next hubby, & get a few sons - and a safe place to raise them. We believe she's working her way up the coast, Seagate is first-port-of-call. Any volunteers?
- There is to be a "reception" after the guild meeting, heaps of food, LOCAL beer & wine, Armide (a Raniterran brandy-style whisky, slightly sweet). Invites available from Seagate castle, or the Widow's chaplain-secretary, Brother Lee, who is liberal with the tickets, but hopeless at answering questions.
- Post-ball bash to be held at Alphonse's early next year.
- SGT Issue 10: December 31 1994